Bruny Island was an interesting place, but I think we both felt a little disappointed after the rest of Tasmania. It is very, very quiet on Bruny. It is a beautiful place, but by the time we got there, we had seen so much beauty. Personally, I think we would have both spent a little more time around Freycinet and at Kabuki by the Sea. We also were both getting sick with a cold in Bruny, so that probably colored our views, too. I had wanted to take the wildlife cruise, but one day it was raining and the next day I just didn’t feel up for it. Above is a sculpture that some locals made after a whale was beached at Adventure Bay. If you look closely, you can see two whales inside the globe.
I went out two nights trying to spot the Fairy Penguins, the smallest penguins. These have holes that they dig in the ground. The first night, I didn’t see anything, but I didn’t know how long to stay out in the night. The second night I was better prepared and had red cellophane to put over a flashlight. Right off the bat I saw a wallaby and could hear it munching away as I watched the surf. Eventually, I could see some penguins! They clustered around by the water’s edge (the left side of the photo below was where the blind for watching them was located). Then a small group of them decided it was time to make the trip and the shuffled along, right alongside of the blind I was behind, so I could see them quite close up. I had experimented trying to take red light photos of the wallaby, without much luck, so I knew there was no point in trying to photograph the penguins, so I just enjoyed watching them shuffle along and listened to all their calls from their burrows.
Of course, there were more birds to photograph, here are some that were flying around where we were staying at Alonnah. I think the bird bottom left is a Sea Eagle and of course the ubiquitous Green Rosella, foraging in the backyard and a flock in flight.
There were a lot of great birds, I never got tired of trying to photograph different varieties of wild parrots. Also, the kookaburra were very common and made a lot of funny noises, their “laughing.”
We spent some time at the Cataract Gorge, a beautiful park with walking tracks right in Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania.
The quality of the light was very yellow in a lot of places, maybe it is partly because there are more autumn colours in Tasmania than New Zealand and we aren’t used to seeing the browns, tans, and yellow pallete of colours. We spent a lot of time driving through the countryside and were surprised to see large flocks of cockatoos fosicking in the fields!
We spent part of a day at Freycinet National Park on the East coast and saw some beautiful scenery and watched birds on the beach for a while. We walked around Sleepy Bay and could have just stayed there for a really long time, but we also wanted to drive up to Launceston that day and the recommendation is to stay off the roads as much as possible after dark because the wildlife is so plentiful.
We stayed at Kabuki by the Sea, near Swansea – a beautiful set of cottages looking out over the cliffs and surf. There was also a Japanese restaurant there. The food, company, and views were so fabulous that we came back and spent another night there on the way back South.
We spent a week touring before the conference and one of the highlights was East Coast Nature World in Bicheno. They had many different animals, many of which they rescued as orphans or injured animals. They would try to return some of these animals back out into the wild, like the baby wombat we met.
There were kangaroos hopping around everywhere and we could feed them pellet food, which they were really keen on. We were surprised to see something strange sticking out of a mama kanagaroo’s pouch, a foot, and later a head and a foot!
There was a walk through aviary where we saw many interesting birds. I also went to the Platypus House at Beauty Point, but the pictures there didn’t turn out so well.
We were at Nature World at feeding time for the Tasmanian Devils. They were a mixture of cute, ugly, and hungry! They eat bones and all of their food. There is a serious facial cancer, though, that these guys are susceptible to. There are different attempts to treat it or stop its spread. No treatment has been effective. Nature World does some breeding programs to increase genetic diversity. I also saw a news piece on a project to block off a pennisula and monitor a healthy population of Devils there.